Get Answers Your Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries and Personal Injury Lawsuits Here
Injury claims are by their nature confusing, and insurance companies go out of their way to make them even more so. However, we believe our clients deserve straight answers to their questions—without confusing legal jargon. This is why, to better serve you, we address common injury questions as clearly as possible.
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I Had Back Pain Prior To My Personal Injury Accident. Can I Still File A Claim?
Many people live with some measure of back pain on a daily basis. We get up in the morning and feel the need to stretch or bend in an effort to “get the kinks” out of our backs. Some, have experienced spinal injuries to their bodies. Others simply experience degenerative conditions that impact them physically. It is important to understand how degenerative conditions are impacted when a new trauma is inflicted, like a car accident or even a slip and fall.
Most victims of motor vehicle collisions are not sure whether they have a claim as they have pain afterward, but acknowledge that they had pain prior to it as well. Or they have been told that they have “degenerative” changes, and so they are not sure whether the pain is a result from the collision, or rather from this “degenerative” condition.
It is important to understand the dynamics of back pain following a collision as many fail to get the medical attention they need due to a lack of information. Recognizing that a history of degenerative back injuries can be seriously amplified following a car wreck is a critical matter to understand. Often our clients find their pain is more intense following a collision. It's natural to wonder whether this pain is simply a degenerative condition once again rearing it's ugly head or if it was actually a result of the traumatic personal injury incident. Victims need to know that there are pain generating structures in their spinal column and surrounding musculature, and one of the most commonly injured structures after a car collision is the intervertebral disc. How degenerative backs impact that intervertebral disc is critical into truly understanding back pain.
Can A Tramautic Accident Cause Even More Damage To Your Back And Spine?
In a 2007 study By M. A. Edgar M.D., found in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Dr. Edgar studied the anatomical foundation of the lumbar spine, nerves and degenerative changes. He found that sensory nerve endings in degenerative lumbar discs run deep, but are often insensitive with respect to causing daily pain. What they have is deep running nerve structures that surround and supply each intervertebral disc of the back. The problem becomes that when a traumatic event is introduced to these deep running, degenerative, nerve endings. While they are often insensitive due to daily routines and living, when they are impacted by a trauma, Dr. Edgar found that they experience a ‘visceral pain’ reaction.
This reaction gets created and transmitted throughout the lumbar region, even though it may only be coming from one impacted intervertebral disc. Dr. Edgar noted that, “when a patient gets injured as a result of a traumatic event, not only can the disc produce pain at the point of the injury, but the deep running nerve endings will also effect the extremities, and even an entire region of the body.” Dr. Edgar’s findings demonstrate that degenerative nerves can actually increase the pain reaction that a damaged intervertebral disc experiences from a traumatic event. So while a car collision may impact a single disc in the spine, the increased visceral pain reaction from the degenerative nerves, can actually manifest itself in other areas of the body that the victim does not associate with the collision itself.
Understanding that a degenerative change in the back can actually make you more susceptible to pain is important in treating that pain following a motor vehicle collision. Experiencing a rear end collision that impacts the lumbar back and yet results in leg or hip pain, is actually not uncommon. Yet many victims are left wondering why is that pain found in that area. As we study and better understand the nerve supply structures of the lumbar spine, doctors can better address that pain, and treat victims. Having degenerative lumbar conditions does not mean that you cannot be seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, or recover for your damages. It does not mean that you have to live with pain because you have “degenerative conditions”. No, the issue can be that you are actually more susceptible to physical pain, because of those conditions. You always want to treat with a doctor who understands the most current and scientific explanations of spine anatomy and pain patterns. When you're treated by such a doctor, you will not experience someone who merely scratches their head trying to figure out why you are experiencing the pain you have.
Do You Have Existing Back Pain That Has Worsened Following An Accident?
If you have an pre-existing degenerative back condition and have been involved in an accident you need to speak with an experienced spine injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call us directly at 866.299.0558 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
What problems could I experience if I begin exercising after a spinal cord injury?
Your doctor may have encouraged you to begin an exercise program as part of your treatment plan for your spinal cord injury. Like many accident victims suffering with the chronic pain and limitations of movement that go along with these injuries, you may find the thought of exercising daunting. You could even be worried—rightfully so—that exercising could result in you feeling more, not less, pain. However, you can take steps to reduce your risk of further injuries.
Watch for These Things As You Begin Your Exercise Program
Accident victims suffering with a spinal cord injury can find exercise improves their muscle strength, breathing, circulation, and self-confidence and can reduce the anxiety and depression they may feel. To enjoy these benefits of exercise, you should be alert for the following:
- Skin problems. As you get on and off exercise equipment, watch for any areas that could cause friction or pressure on your skin if you suffer with skin problems.
- Autonomic dysreflexia (AD). This is a syndrome causing sudden excessive high blood pressure and is a common problem for spinal cord injury victims. When you exercise, be conscious of spikes in your blood pressure so that you do not damage your heart.
- Overuse injuries. You need to be careful not to perform the same exercises all the time that repetitively work the same muscles and could result in further injuries.
- Spasticity. Spasticity is a secondary condition you could suffer with that causes your muscles to be constantly contracted. If you have this condition, you need to be careful when using exercise machines and may need someone to watch you while using them to avoid being thrown out of the proper position for the machine.
- Medication. If you are taking medication that numbs your pain, you need to be extra vigilant to not overdo your exercises and cause further injuries to your spine.
Did you or a family member suffer a spinal cord injury caused by a person’s or business’s negligence? Fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What complications could I suffer from spinal stenosis surgery?
A victim of a serious vehicle or slip and fall accident who suffers from spinal stenosis can experience pain and limitations in his activities long after the accident. He and his family can experience financial hardships due to the expensive and ongoing medical treatments and the loss of income during recovery. Even with surgery, a person suffering from spinal stenosis can experience prolonged complications and a poor prognosis for a full recovery.
Eight Complications You Could Suffer From Spinal Stenosis Surgery
The severity of complications you could experience from spinal stenosis surgery will depend in part on your other medical conditions, the extent of your spinal injury, and your age. Possible complications include:
- Problems from anesthesia
- Deep infection in the surgical wound or skin infections
- Blood clots
- An unstable spine
- Nerve injury that could include weakness, numbness, or paralysis
- Tears in the tissue covering the spinal cord, which could require additional surgeries
- Problems passing urine or loss of bladder or bowel control
- Long-term, chronic pain
While spinal stenosis surgery can help some victims of serious accidents, others find the symptoms such as pain and leg numbness continue or return after several years. In addition, the spinal stenosis could develop in another area of the spine, requiring additional surgery.
If you suffer from spinal stenosis after a serious accident, you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights and not miss important deadlines to file a lawsuit. Fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal options.
I was injured in an accident and suffered a herniated disc. Am I entitled to compensation for the pain?
Suffering a spinal injury after an accident can leave you experiencing significant pain. Herniated discs are no exception. A herniated disc occurs when the soft layer of the rubbery disc that lies between the vertebrae in the spine bulges through the tough exterior. Many victims experience significant pain that requires extensive and ongoing treatment. Fortunately, these victims may be entitled to compensation as a result.
4 Techniques for Dealing With Pain Caused by a Herniated Disc
Even though victims may be entitled to compensation, they still must deal with the day-to-day pain caused by the injury. The following are some techniques that can be used to try and cope with this suffering:
- Do not try to deny the pain. Recognizing and acknowledging your pain is the first step towards developing an effective pain management and treatment plan. Many victims try to downplay or ignore their pain at first, which only delays the time before relief can be obtained.
- Do your best to manage your stress. Stress can intensify pain. Therefore, it is important to practice good stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises.
- Learn to identify triggers of your pain. When you suffer from a herniated disc, you will often notice that you have certain triggers that initiate or intensify your pain. Learning to identify your specific triggers can help you to modify your lifestyle in order to avoid them.
- Seek counseling from a professional mental health counselor trained to deal with pain management. This counselor can provide you with an important source of support and understanding. You will learn how to rethink your expectations and adjust your feelings regarding your accident, your pain, and your resulting emotions.
If you suffered a herniated disc as a result of an accident, it is important to take action in order to protect your legal rights. Time limitations apply to your ability to pursue a legal claim. We encourage you to contact us today at 866-299-0558 for a free consultation.
I am suffering from skin pressure sores after a spinal cord injury, am I entitled to compensation?
After a spinal cord injury, you may be left facing permanent or temporary paralysis in one or more areas of the body. In addition to the challenges that accompany paralysis comes the risk of suffering several types of potentially severe complications. One such example of a complication stemming from paralysis is the development of skin pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers. When these sores or ulcers develop, it is crucial that victims seek medical attention. If left untreated, these sores could result in serious infection, require surgery, and even be life threatening.
Four Stages of Skin Pressure Sores Resulting From Spinal Injuries
Skin pressure sores go through four stages of development and severity, and each stage has its own treatment plan:
- During stage one, the skin is not broken, but it is red. The color does not fade after 30 seconds of pressure is removed from the area. Victims can generally treat the sore by staying off the affected area and maintaining proper hygiene.
- During stage two, the top layer of the skin is broken. The sore is shallow, but open, and drainage may be present. The wound must be cleansed and a dressing must be applied.
- During stage three, the skin has broken down into the second layer of skin and subcutaneous fat tissue. A doctor should be consulted for treatment.
- During stage four, the skin has broken down to the bone and muscle. At this stage, immediate medical attention is required. The victim may require surgery. Stage four skin pressure sores can be life threatening.
Depending on the severity of your sores and the treatment required, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering in addition to the compensation you receive relating to your paralysis. It is important to act quickly, however. We encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 866-299-0558.
What is the difference between paraplegia and quadriplegia?
According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, 23 percent of paralysis victims suffered accidents in which their spinal cords were injured. Although a spinal injury doesn’t necessarily guarantee paralysis, any direct damage to the spinal cord can potentially cause some form of paralysis.
Since your spinal cord is basically the communication center for your brain to communicate with your body, when it gets damaged, certain neurological messages which are sent to control parts of your body become lost or incapable of being sent. Likewise, messages from the body back to the brain cannot “leap the gap” of a damaged spinal cord. Depending on where the damage occurs, this can lead to different forms of paralysis.
Paralytic Forms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Paralysis from spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are generally classified under one of two categories: paraplegia and quadriplegia. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are both commonly referred to as paralysis. However, they are each separate forms of paralysis, characterized by the location of spinal injury. Depending upon where the initial injury occurred, symptoms of paraplegics and quadriplegics can widely differ.
Paraplegics suffer from what is known as “partial” or “incomplete” paralysis, which only affects two limbs (generally the legs). This type of paralysis results from an injury to the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions of the spinal cord (the entirety of the spine starting below the neck). Paraplegics are usually hospitalized for up to five months for extensive rehabilitation and therapy. Depending on the extant of the injury (in cases of minor bruising or swelling), some paraplegics may regain feeling and mobility.
Quadriplegics, on the other hand suffer from partial to “complete” paralysis, which can affect all four limbs (arms and legs, including hips). This type of paralysis results when damage occurs to the regions of the spine known as C-1 through C-4 (starting where the skull meets the spine and continuing down the neck). This damage causes the victim to lose both sensory and motor functions, completely disrupting sensation and control. Quadriplegics usually need at least six to eight months of extensive rehabilitation before they can be discharged from the hospital, and then continue treatment and therapy on their own.
Not all spinal cord injuries are severe. In some cases, swelling can cause a temporary communication block from the brain to the nerves. As the swelling decreases, the messages slowly get through causing temporary paralysis.
SCI Help: Because All Types of Paralytic Injuries Deserve Support
When you first experience a spinal cord trauma, it’s extremely difficult to determine the severity of the injury. Sometimes a simple bruise can make your legs go numb as if you’re paralyzed, while other injuries can seem minor but then develop serious complications.
No matter the cause, or the initial symptoms that result, if you injure your back or neck, or feel numbness, uncontrollable muscle spasms, or signs of paralysis, you need to seek medical help immediately. Hesitating could cause the injury to worsen.
After you’ve been fully examined and diagnosed by a doctor, your next plan of action should be to contact an experienced spine injury attorney. Although your body may be paralyzed, there is no reason for you to let the insurance companies take advantage of you. Allow us to have your back and fight for the financial security and the long-term treatment you need.
Don’t allow an accidental mishap to destroy your financial independence or affect your mental state. Call us today for a free consultation and see how we can help you!